Northern Trust Open 2015: James Hahn is the people’s champ

James Hahn made a 25-foot putt on the par-3 14th hole at Riviera Country Club to secure a victory in a three-man playoff at the 2015 Northern Trust Open like he’s been doing it his entire life. 

That’s because he has.

Hahn is a PGA Tour champion that any average Joe can get behind because he himself was once that guy, according to the first-time winner via

“Came from a small town. Didn’t do well in college (he attended Cal). Was never an All-American. Sold shoes for a living. And then just one day, the putts started going in and I started playing a little better. Won a couple of golf tournaments, and now I’m here.”

It’s a remarkable story — the type movies and dreams are made of. Hahn secured his first win on golf’s biggest stage and earned himself two worry-free exemption years on the PGA Tour in the process. Here’s a player who’s played on the Canadian, Korean and Gateway Tours and knows what it’s like to live the dangerous life of a journeyman professional golfer. 

He once had as little as $200 in his wallet while playing and had to borrow money in order to pay his caddy. Changing his mindset and approach to work harder than he ever had changed his life and paid major dividends.

It’s the kind of champion we can all get behind. Hahn’s California roots as a Bay Area product and Cal graduate make winning at one of the state’s classic clubs that much more special. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.


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